ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — New York State Attorney General Letitia James and other lawmakers announced Monday new legislation to establish a state program that would give financial resources to abortion providers if Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court and abortion rights return to individual states. James says this has low-income New Yorkers in mind and would also help those coming into the state seeking treatment.

The bill is called the ‘Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program’, and would give funds to medical facilities and non-profits to increase access to care. The Attorney General says abortion is health care and much of this comes down to safety. 

James says the vast majority of Americans believe in the right to choose. Her office says if Roe is overturned, it’s estimated 32,000 procedures per year could be performed with patients coming here from out of state.

James says New York must lead the fight to keep abortion safe and accessible. The legislation establishes funding that the Department of Health will oversee— she says it will not go to individuals. She feels in other areas of the nation, if some states make abortions illegal, women will go out and seek treatment that is unreliable.

“And that’s why it’s really critically important that we support young ladies not only here in New York, but all across this country, particularly at a time when we recognize and we understand that a ban will not stop abortions— a ban will only stop safe abortions, and we’re here to provide safe abortions. We don’t want to go backward,” says James.

“In my daily work, I see the way abortion improves the lives of all the pregnant patients we take care of, if they choose to pursue that path. It’s essential healthcare; it empowers my patients to chart their own life course,” says Dr. Jessica Atrio, Gynecologist.

The Conservative Party of New York State put out a statement today saying the governor and the attorney general want to make New York a destination for abortion procedures — funded solely by state taxpayers.

“New York has the most radical abortion laws in the country, allowing termination of an unborn child right up until birth — more than twice the length of time most liberal European countries allow. But that’s not enough for Governor Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James who now want to turn the state into a national mecca for abortion procedures wholly paid for by New York taxpayers. The governor and attorney general have no right to force New Yorkers to pay for abortions for non-New Yorkers. New Yorkers, who already pay the highest taxes in the country, need to fight it.”

Conservative Party Chairman Gerard Kassar 

James says there are already 22 states that have laws that would allow them to ban abortions right away if ‘Roe’ is overturned or weakened.